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Strong Cold Dead: A Caitlin Strong Novel


Strong Cold Dead: A Caitlin Strong Novel

What if the terrorist organization ISIS had a deadly toxin that could be the ultimate weapon of mass destruction? What if the properties of that same toxin could potentially eradicate cancer?

This conundrum and moral precipice are what Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong and her colleagues are forced to deal with. However, it is simply a small piece of the puzzle that is the latest Caitlin Strong thriller, STRONG COLD DEAD. The eighth installment of this top-notch series is riddled with modern threats that are enough to keep us all awake at night, especially since these threats are quite real.

What makes the series work, and one of the best thriller series out there, is how the past not only speaks to the future but becomes swirled together, merging into something that is prophetic and scarily relevant. We start with Steeldust Jack Strong in 1874 shortly after the end of the Civil War. He is about to enter the Comanche reservation to question them about a mutilated corpse found just outside of their property. This body is just the tip of the iceberg with what is actually going on inside the Comanche reservation and the secrets that they wish to protect at any cost. Is it murder, or the oft-alluded-to being that is protecting the reservation?

"STRONG COLD DEAD is like a pack of literary TNT with a long fuse that has been lit by Jon Land. The suspense is ramped up chapter by chapter to an almost unbearable level until it finally explodes in the last act."

In present day, Caitlin is facing off against a series of adversaries --- some of whom reside on the very Comanche reservation where Steeldust Jack had his own showdown back in the day. Caitlin's situation is brought to life by the Native American girlfriend of her ex-lover’s son, Dylan Masters. Dylan's dad, Cort Wesley Masters, is an ex-outlaw and extremely dangerous person when challenged. It turns out that the Comanche are dealing with the threat of an angry industrialist seeking to mine their land. On the surface, it appears to be another Texas oil baron looking to tap some fertile ground. However, the Comanche understand quite well that another prize is sought by this rich white man.

The conflagration on the Comanche reservation is eerily similar to the face-off Steeldust Jack had against John D. Rockefeller. The difference lies in the prize: oil versus another concoction that is beyond dangerous. This brings us to the third storyline and the one that ties everything together in a nefarious knot. There is nothing more threatening to the American way of life than homegrown terrorists. We're not talking sympathizers but individuals flat-out intent on bringing our country down.

It is here where the story of Daniel Cross emerges. He is a young man in whom Caitlin Strong had once taken an interest with the hope of leading him away from a life in juvenile halls and eventually prison. Unfortunately, Daniel is too far gone and has aligned himself with young members of ISIS who are out to make a name for themselves and kill some Americans in the name of Allah. Daniel promises his terrorist friends that he can get his hands on the deadly toxin alluded to earlier. The effects of this will be devastating as the toxin in question is not going to be used to forward medical research but to take many, many lives.

Even with Caitlin’s cronies, Cort and Colonel Guillermo Paz, fighting for her cause, they may not have enough resources to stop the multiple incidents that threaten to blow up in their faces. When a testing of the toxin is released, the results are deathly, and the reality that they must face will smack readers in the face like a thunderbolt. It comes down to the sobering reality that it's hard to fight against a weapon that produces a 100 percent mortality rate.

Caitlin Strong stands for a lot of things, mostly to represent the very same Texas Rangers who have been her own lineage. The Texas Rangers have survived for as long as they have by being able to change and adapt with the times. It is this type of skill-set that the present-day Strong will need to rely on to overcome the evil forces that are intent on bringing down the entire house around them. Caitlin realizes that evil is at its strongest when it hides among us, and she knows full well that there are many more Daniel Crosses out there waiting for their moment.

STRONG COLD DEAD is like a pack of literary TNT with a long fuse that has been lit by Jon Land. The suspense is ramped up chapter by chapter to an almost unbearable level until it finally explodes in the last act. Whether you have your head in the sand or believe walls should be built to deal with the threat of potential terrorists, it is impossible not to agree that threats from within are potentially the most harmful. It is this fact that STRONG COLD DEAD uses as a barometer of the fear that we live with every day. Venture into this novel with the satisfaction of knowing that you are being led down the road by generations of Texas Rangers who will never back down in the face of any and all threats.

Reviewed by Ray Palen on October 7, 2016

Strong Cold Dead: A Caitlin Strong Novel
by Jon Land

  • Publication Date: October 3, 2017
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Mass Market Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Forge Books
  • ISBN-10: 0765370298
  • ISBN-13: 9780765370297